Check out Rose Bowl Central here. (And, “read why the Rose Bowl is the real national title game” here. Heh.) Go Trojans!!!
In other college football news… click here for my post on “Mid-major mayhem” between TCU and Boise State. I typed this up on Wednesday, but I accidentally failed to change the status from “Draft” to “Publish,” so it never appeared on the blog till now. (You can find it here on the homepage, too, but it’s way back at 12/24/03 11:11 AM, almost two-thirds of the way down the page.)
Anyway, speaking of mayhem, the Hawaii Bowl between Hawaii and Houston tonight went to triple-overtime, and ended in an on-field brawl (Merry Christmas!) as the Warriors, formerly known as the Rainbows, sought to prove they’re “not really gay” by beating their opponents to a bloody pulp. Okay, so I made that last part up. :) But anyway, the Warriors won, 54-48.
Hopefully those games will be a wee bit more entertaining than the first two bowls featuring major-conference teams, the Tangerine Bowl (N.C. State 56, Kansas 26) and the Las Vegas Bowl (Oregon State 55, New Mexico 14).
What thrillers… it’s enough to make you thank God we don’t have a playoff… heaven forbid these games actually mean something… Hooray for the grand tradition and pageantry of Kansas vs. North Carolina State!!!… Where would college football be without it?… Ain’t that right, Andrew? :)
UPDATE: Hey, did you hear senior Oklahoma QB and Heisman winner Jason White is coming back next season? Yep, he got an extra year of eligibility, and he’s returning! Looks like USC and Oklahoma will again be the best two teams in the nation… for the third year in a row. (That’s right, Ohio State and Miami and Georgia and LSU fans, you heard me right. Bring it on! :)
Everybody’s favorite Texan has a brand new blog!
No, this does not mean George W. Bush has learned how to work a computer… because I’m not talking about George W. Bush. I’m talking about Chris Fahrenthold, of course!
That’s right, one of my most prolific commenters has starting a solo blogging career! I’m so proud… (sniff, sniff)… it’s called SoTheBearSays (capitalization mine) and it’s coming to an Internet near you!
The blog is a Christmas present from Adrienne (who has solicited my help on the HTML, which may be forthcoming at some point :). Thus far, Chris’s initial posts have dealt with two wildly divergent topics: his desire to become Pope (the man is a Baptist, mind you) and his Christmas speeding ticket (ouch).
Anyway… check it out!
UPDATE: By the way, I must say the blog started on a truly excellent note, with what I can only assume was a deliberate Lord of the Rings reference: “And So It Begins…” These are, after all, the very words of King Theoden in The Two Towers’s Helm’s Deep battle scene, after the first Orc is downed by a wayward arrow from an elderly Rohirrim soldier. Adrienne, you did that on purpose, right? :)
U.S. intelliegence officials believe that Al Qaeda planned to hijack Air France Flight 68 yesterday and fly it into a target in Los Angeles — thus adding Christmas Eve 2003 to our list of days that will live in infamy (would we call it “12/24″?) — according to sources quoted in this L.A. Times article.
But now it seems the French authorities have released the suspects that they initially held for questioning. They “found no evidence” of a plot, and an Interior Ministry spokesman said, ‘There are no longer any investigations.”
Well, who knows. Even in the Times story, there are caveats and waffles by various sources and officials. But, bottom line, a Flight 68 attack (and possibly more) is what the intelligence community believed was going on. Excerpts, with emphases added:
Details remained cloudy, but U.S. counterterrorism officials said their investigation was focusing on the “informed belief” that about six men on Air France Flight 68, from Paris to Los Angeles, may have been planning to hijack the plane and crash it near Los Angeles, or along the way. …
Law enforcement and intelligence officials in the United States said the information of a pending attack on Los Angeles prompted the federal Department of Homeland Security last week to ratchet up the nation’s terror alert level to the second-highest level. “This whole thing is the reason we got bumped up to orange,” the senior U.S. security official said.
Motivated by fear of a major attack on the United States, hundreds of U.S. intelligence operatives and law enforcement officials around the globe worked on high alert, scouring intercepted communications and interviewing informants. Intelligence officials characterized the effort, which culminated in the flight cancellations, as a nerve-racking race against time.
Now here’s some good news: the Newington High girls’ basketball team is 4-0! Their latest triumph was a 59-45 win over East Hartford on Tuesday.
Newington, once a state powerhouse, has been in a slump in recent years; the Indians have not had a winning season since my junior year in high school (1997-98). But they’ve been improving — last year they went went 9-12 and qualified for the state tournament.
And now things really seem to be looking up, if an early 4-0 record is any indication. The Indians are led by Kelly McVey, a junior who received an honorable mention in the Hartford Courant’s list of top players in the state, as well as Amanda Ciarcia. And now apparently they have a new freshman phenom, Yasmin Ithier-Vincente (or Yasmine Ithier-Vicenty?).
The Indians play next in the Plainville Holiday Tournament this weekend. They take on the host team, Plainville, on Saturday, and then play either Hall or Weaver on Monday, in either the championship or the consolation game.
Anyway, the Indians’ early success is not the only good news from the home front. The NHS boys basketball team is 3-0!
We had a fine Christmas here in Arizona. Of course, it’s just the first of two Christmases for me; my family will celebrate Christmas on Dec. 29, when we’re all together in New York. :) But this was certainly a good start.
Here is my traditional Christmas picture of all the gifts I got:
Among the highlights: awesome Notre Dame pillow and blanket from Jen and Soren; cool Lord of the Rings “weapons and warfare” book and LOTR trivial pursuit game from Becky (we played twice–I won both times); digital thermometer thingy, also from Becky; big fat “Century” photo book from my parents (technically a Hanukkah gift); a cell phone headset from Becky; various nice-smelling soaps and related bathroom products from Becky and her parents; a soft, very nice, dark green sweater from Becky’s uncle and aunt (not pictured because I was wearing it when I took the photo); and Best Buy gift cards from Becky’s parents and Casey. And there’s more — but you can see that! :)
Of course, Christmas is supposed to be about giving, not receiving, so let me tell you about some of the stuff I gave! Becky was the beneficiary of a rather substantial Target shopping spree, which produced various stocking stuffers like snowflake earrings, cow socks, SpongeBob SquarePants stickers, etc.; Lonestar’s greatest-hits CD; the double DVD of both X-Men movies; a floating candle set; and more. Soren, a fellow LOTR nerd, got a Gollum action figure and a Balrog candle holder (the fire illuminates the Balrog’s head — very cool!), while Jen got a neat vibrating pillow, and Casey got a book called “The Lies of George W. Bush” (or something like that). Becky’s parents, for now, got a CD-burned copy of “Butter Baggings and the Fish of Doom,” but their real present is yet to come; I’m still working on making it. :)
Becky and I emptied our respective stockings and opened most of our presents for each other in the morning. Then we went over to her parents’ house in the early afternoon and opened more presents there. (You can see my cell-phone posts of all this, as it was happening, in my new Holidays 2003-04 blog category.) Here’s a picture of Becky in the robe that her parents gave her, and below it, a shot of her reveling in the glory of said robe, with the chaos of present-opening all around her:
About those Best Buy gift cards… Becky’s parents attempted to trick and confuse me by wrapping theirs inside a Victoria’s Secret bag. Heh. I must admit, I was momentarily at a loss:
After we finished opening presents, we watched a couple episodes of South Park from the first-season DVD that Becky bought for her dad:
When we got home, Becky and I played Trivial Pursuit and then watched Two Weeks Notice, which we had rented from Blockbuster the previous day. Oh, and we played with the kittens, who were themselves spoiled with various Christmas presents this morning (many of them involving catnip in some form).
Now Becky is asleep (early to bed and early to rise!) and I’m left to ponder the remaining tasks I must do before leaving on a jet plane for the East Coast on Saturday morning: finish our Christmas cards (yeah, a little late, so sue us), finish Becky’s parents’ Christmas gift (also a little late), figure out my finances, probably buy my new iBook, and of course, pack. Oh, and I have to work tomorrow. Oh, well. Nobody ever said the holidays aren’t stressful. :)
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!